Talland House – by Jenna Calamai

 

Talland House

 

“I could fill pages remembering one thing after another that made the summer at St. Ives the best beginning to a life conceivable.”

FOR VIRGINIA WOOLF

 

The house on the shore of St. Ives
shut itself up when a susurrus of sea mist
relayed the news of her death
whispered from the mouth of the river Ouse.

Now stones have piled up along
the edges of the garden.
The strawberry bed has long rotted,
and all the children have grown and perished.
Each alone.
Nothing is left but the footprints of stolen furniture
and the beams from the Godrevy Lighthouse
peeking through the brass-lined windows
for glimpses of their ghosts.

The waves sent to knock cracks into the front door
reminded the house that it was once filled
with tiny laugher from the cricket ground,
the sighing of books laid on a cleared kitchen table,
Kitty’s blush when Leo asked for her hand
under the canopy of purple clematis,
and the arrow-like stillness of breezes
rushing through every door left open.

But the maids came
to close the doors and bolt the windows
so the crabs would build their skeletons
under the shadow of the porch steps
and not within the empty bookcases in the living room.
And so long as Godrevy is searching for ghosts,
the house is reminded
that life cannot stand still there.